Imōto-Moe : Sexualized Relationships Between Brothers and Sisters in Japanese Animation

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http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202012155188
Title: Imōto-Moe : Sexualized Relationships Between Brothers and Sisters in Japanese Animation
Author: Sibakov, Tuomas
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts, Department of World Cultures 2010-2017
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2020
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202012155188
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/323101
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Itä‑Aasian tutkimus
East Asian Studies
Östasienforskning
Abstract: In this work I examine how imōto-moe, a recent trend in Japanese animation and manga in which incestual connotations and relationships between brothers and sisters is shown, contributes to the sexualization of girls in the Japanese society. This is done by analysing four different series from 2010s, in which incest is a major theme. The analysis is done using visual analysis.The study concludes that although the series can show sexualization of drawn underage girls, reading the works as if they would posit either real or fictional little sisters as sexual targets. Instead, the analysis suggests that following the narrative, the works should be read as fictional underage girls expressing a pure feelings and sexuality, unspoiled by adult corruption.To understand moe, it is necessary to understand the history of Japanese animation. Much of the genres, themes and styles in manga and anime are due to Tezuka Osamu, the “god of manga” and “god of animation”. From the 1950s, Tezuka was influenced by Disney and other western animators at the time. His stories and themes had intellectual and philosophical depth that the western counterparts did not have. The works also touched themes that the western animation steered away from, including sexuality, which was not compartmentalized in a similar fashion in Japan as it was in the Western world. His works not only created new genres by themselves, but the constant combination by future generations created thethematic complexity that can be seen in manga and anime today.Tezuka also had a role in underage girl sexualization: his girl characters were an inspiration for the sexuality of little girls, both real and fictional, in the 70s. The western works of Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita and Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland drew attention to the cuteness of little girls. In combination, sexualized versions of Tezuka’s characters were drawn, at first as a parody. In the 80s there was a boom of drawn girls in sexually compromised situations, or loliconart. Duringthe 80s, the focus shifted away from connotations to real girl imagery and drawn rape imagery towards less violent forms.In 1989, a dubious connection was drawn between otaku, fans of popular culture, including loliconimagery, and a serial killer of small children. The moral panic that followed slowed the spread of loliconin the 90s.Meanwhilein the 90s, an idea of moebegan to form: if fictional little girls are not corrupted by adult sexuality, the girls cause feelings of affection in the viewer. The viewers are affected by moe via isolated, but recognizable tropes, such as cat ears and tail, a speech habit, or twin tails. A part of this research is to examine how well imōto-fits under the loliconcriteria, and undermoe: the characters are sexualized: they are showing having sexual thoughts and expressing sexual activity. After the examination, I conclude that, at least in the works examined, imōto-moe fits under the latter category: the male partners are passive and follow the girl’s lead, the ages are very close, and many of the series emphasize the virtual aspect: to enjoy little sisters, they have to be two-dimensional, outside the laws of reality.
Subject: anime
moe
lolicon
incest
Japan
sexualization
family
animation
sister
sex
female
girl
representation
animation
shojo
Subject (yso): animaatio
animet
animet (sarjaohjelmat)
japanologia
seksuaaliset fantasiat
representaatio
insesti
sisaruus
moe
loli
anime
moe
japanologi
incest


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